I made the resolution that I would review every movie I watch in 2007, so continuing with that commitment, here a couple more movie reviews for you to munch on. If they’re not your cup of tea, take a gander at the adrenaline-pumping Crank or the gut-wretching Simpsons Movie.

sicko movie with michael moore

I thought Bowling for Columbine was pretty great. Fahrenheit 9/11 was interesting and opened my eyes to a few things, but I don’t think it was put together as well as Bowling for Columbine. With this, I expected SiCKO to be a compelling argument for universal health care, presented in an even less interesting way. Thankfully, the fat guy with a red cap known as Michael Moore turned it around for his latest documentary, and while the progression of the “story” (if you can call it that) isn’t immediately clear, the message is.

Maybe because I live in Canada, I don’t really understand why a country wouldn’t have universal health care. When I walk into the doctor’s office, I don’t think about how much it’s going to cost me. If I happen to find myself as a victim of unfortunate circumstances, I get rushed to the emergency room without a thought about insurance or who’s going to pay for the medical attention.

I’m shocked, really, by the state of affairs shown in SiCKO. A man had to choose what finger he wanted to keep after severing two of them in an accident. A woman received a bill from her HMO, because her ambulance ride to the hospital following a rather traumatic car accident wasn’t pre-approved. Perhaps worst of all, the people who volunteered to help at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks did not receive the proper care they needed, because they were not on the government payroll — like the NY firefighters, for example — and thus did not qualify for their medical plan.

But that’s not what captured my interest the most. It was when Moore took a trip across the Atlantic to visit people living in London and France. I thought I had it good in Canada with my universal health care (relative to the States, anyways), but did you know that new mothers get a free nanny service in France? Or that prescription drugs come at a flat rate in London, regardless of actual cost or quantity? It almost makes me want to move to Europe. Almost.

If you’re a fan of Michael Moore’s work, even if you don’t agree with his opinions, I recommend you watch SiCKO. As a freelance writer, I obviously don’t have a company-paid health care plan. Thankfully, the Canadian government steps in for that anyways. Any Americans in the audience want to chime in with their opinions? I’d be interested to hear a real person’s perspective and not one through the Michael Moore “Bush is bad” filter.

4 stars out of 5

spider-man 3: spiderman punches the sandman

Everything that you’ve heard about Spider-Man 3 is true. The movie is a touch on the long side with several scenes dragging on for no reason and several more are in the flick that add nothing of value. None of the multiple storylines is explored in depth, leaving with what feels like a mish-mash of several mini-movies, none of which are hugely satisfying in any particular way. The fight scenes, as can be expected from a Marvel live-action movie, are still quite enjoyable to watch, even though there are several sequences that are very heavy on the CG.

I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone, but here are the storylines that I could weed out from Spider-Man 3. In no particular order:

  1. Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) relationship woes with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst)
  2. Peter Parker’s rivalry with new Daily Bugle photography Eddie Brock (Topher Grace)
  3. The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and his quest for money, battling Spidey along the way
  4. Harry Osborn (James Franco) and his goal of killing Spider-Man as the New Goblin
  5. Spider-Man’s transformation to “dark” Spider-Man
  6. Eddie Brock’s transformation to Venom and eventual fight with Spider-Man

Yeah, it’s a lot to keep track of. I felt that the Sandman character was basically useless, only filling in as the guy who fights Spider-Man until Venom comes along to spew black goo at everyone. The friction with Mary Jane also feels tacked on, but I feel that my negative reaction to that storyline has something to do with the lacklustre performance by Kirsten Dunst. Appropriately enough, her character in the movie has some trouble staying a star on Broadway. On a side note, I thought the casting of Topher Grace — known best for portraying Eric Forman on That 70s Show — as Venom was very strange. In the cartoons, Eddie Brock is pretty huge, whereas Topher probably weighs 100 pounds soaking wet.

I thought Spider-Man 3 was okay for what it was, but it was easily the weakest in the trilogy by a long shot. The producers were trying to cram far too much into this third installment. I know that the intention was the wrap up the movie franchise with Spider-Man 3, but it would have served them better to break it up and go laughing all the way to the bank with a 4th or even 5th film. If I was the movie studio, I’d green-light the project.

3 stars out of 5 (and I’m being a little generous just because I like Spider-Man)

On a side note, am I the only one who thought Tobey Maguire, after embracing the Venom-ness of “dark” Spider-Man, looked a little like Peter Petrelli from Heroes? Maybe it’s just the droopy hair thing.

spider-man 3: peter parker looks like peter petrelli of heroes